And so A Sort of Colch Homecoming at Colchester Arts Centre on Saturday night was as BONKERS as billed. Gulls, Animal Noise and Dingus Khan – three of the finest from around these Colne Rock dwellings, all on stage, all on the same evening and with little pause in-between to sip your half shandy.
It was more or less coincidence that brought the Big Three of Colne Rock together. The Dingus boys were back in town to conclude a national tour; Animal Noise needed to unleash some energy and Gulls wanted some match practice after a series of unlikely rock ‘n’ roll injuries.
The running order was actually switched around as late as Saturday afternoon. Either one of the Big Three could have headlined the gig that *some* have dubbed the Mid-Winter Mini Colchester Free Festival.
The lovely Arts Centre was simply the facilitator [AHA!] for all of this shared Colne Rock coming together. Doors at 8pm, and pretty much a 400 capacity crowd all inside fifteen minutes later.
The message here is believe in the hyperlocal bands, and the rock kids of Britain’s Oldest Recorded will come out to support. An incredibly min-winter friendly ticket price of £6.50 also helped.
But what of the rock kids of Britain’s Oldest Recorded?
Act your age, etc.
Tales were exchanged in the queue outside St-Mary-at-the-Walls of the middle-aged effort in limbering up for gig. Many in the audience were old enough to have sewn the love loins that produced the BONKERS Dingus Khan. Come close of play and this was a boast that many would carry.
Support Mistley Swans was the main message inside the Arts Centre. With a debut album to celebrate, Dingus had decked out the old church with cygnus related decorations. No hissy fits, but a DIY art approach to self-promotion.
Gulls got in first ahead of the Mistely Swans. Two years under the Colne Rock radar, but now Gulls are starting to gain attention. It’s pretty hard not to ignore the post-rock power chords, such is the LOUDNESS in which they are delivered.
After the middle-aged effort in limbering up for a gig, the Daddios left the young guns moshing at the front, seeking a slightly more sedate vantage point towards the back.
Those young guns giving it large down at the front just happened to be the Dingus boys – no rock ‘n’ roll egos and dressing rooms full of scented rose petals here. Walk it like you talk it – LIVE the Colne Rock dream, fellas.
And then it was time to take yer tops off, show us what you’ve got and leave a sweat trail dripping all the way down yer backside.
Boys as well…
Yep – time for some Animal Noise.
Is there a band that sounds exactly the same as their name suggests? Dodgy back in the Britpop days, but Animal Noise are exactly that.
They are tribal, they are sex – they are Colchester.
With a wardrobe budget of precisely zero, the Tops Off Rock genre continued the three-piece power unit strand of Colne Rock.
The Arts Centre had one of those increasingly rare sights where three chords in, a group of pals storm through the crowd, keen to celebrate THEIR song together on a Saturday night.
It is this type of collective gang mentality that makes Animal Noise such a tight band. The first flying can of the evening was launched in celebration somewhere from over the west Nave. Much nakedness followed.
Animal Noise are now ready for the next level in taking Colne Rock on the road. New song Rag and Bone showed the progress that has been made. This Arts Centre gig was something of a thank you to all the fans that have believed.
Time to spread the Colchester tribal sex message [that sounds VERY wrong...]
Any half-arsed gig review should be by now bashing out something about saving the best until last.
Save the best until last, etc…
It wasn’t quite that, but Dingus Khan did bring the house down – and the balloons that had been lovingly attached to the Arts Centre ceiling earlier in the day.
Dexys struggled back in September in fitting a full ensemble on to the tight Arts Centre stage. Yer man Kev should have listened to the Dingus boys and their eight-piece approach to stage management.
THREE drummers boosting the backline, and then a front row of FIVE guitarists. In football terms and it was the Christmas Tree formation for a team that likes to attack. In the crazy world of rock ‘n’ roll and it signifies that this is a band that wants to show you their balls.
Knifey Spoony saw the first couple hug moment of the evening. Boy on girl, boy on boy and girl on girl. No one really gave a flying one as the glorious feedback reverberated in all the right places, making that gender crossing hug moment all the more special.
The start of each Dingus song requires that you are ready for what is to come. A brief pause and time to readjust yourself, then it’s straight in for the ride with tales of embracing madness with your mates.
It all got a little lost in the smoke machine towards the end of the Dingus set. THREE of our drummers are missing, etc. They still managed to keep the beat, all the way through until the set highlight of Made a List, where they weren’t really needed.
And so CRASH, BANG, WHALLOP – what a night.
A Sort of Colch Homecoming?
Where do we take Colne Rock next?
[The answer is *not* Wivenhoe, btw...]